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24hrs With Blackbox

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  • 24hrs With Blackbox

    I've had the Black box for 24hrs now as stated in the title and must say I'm more than happy with my purchase. I bought this device to simplify my sample pack creation since I can now sample, slice, edit and sequence material directly on the machine. Usually I sample into my TASCAM DR-100MK111, import the samples to my computer, chop, edit, export to a USB, load into my DJS 1000 and test out the sounds and make a sequence. Now I can do all of that in the Blackbox, export the sounds and do any fine edits on my computer if necessary. I see a lot of feature requests, questions and comparisons so I'm going to do something a little different and talk about what I like about the Blackbox. I think us consumers should buy gear based on what it can do and not what we hope it can do in the future.

    1. The Blackbox takes standard wav files (I haven't tried any other file types). There's no need to convert to mono, change the sample or bit rate or anything else. I have other samplers that I have to change the file audio settings in order to play them on that device. It's annoying (Hi Digitakt).

    2. There's no proprietary or strange file naming convention for the samples. Dump the folders on the machine, load some samples and have fun.

    3. The manual is well written, in depth and has personality. Manuals annoy me but this didn't feel like I was reading some sort of technical manual and any questions I had, I found answers in the manual.

    4. While playing a sequence you can audition additional samples before you load them. This is very handy when you've got a kick drum going and you're scrolling through looking for accompanying sounds. The sound doesn't auto load (thank you) which is great. Build your kit as you go.

    5. You can record directly from the sample edit screen after you click "load" in the file preview screen. This was a nice surprise. There's no need to hit the "pad" button to enter the notes, just click the play icon in the top right. This is useful when programming percussion and you're in the zone.

    6. Exclusive (Exclude)? groups gave me some cool harmonics when one sound choked the other. It's not quite ducking but I love it on percussion.

    7. Clip mode is perfectly timed. I leave it running then mute/unmute as I see fit and it's never out of time. The quantization is solid all the time.

    8. Sample recording is incredibly simple and actually makes sense. The sample is ready for use and in time with your sequence automagically.

    9. Slicing a sample, playing each slice with a midi keyboard and recording the notes to the sequencer is easy and straightforward.

    10. Loop mode creates some nice drones, pads depending on the sample loaded.

    11. The screen is very precise when playing pads or keys. There seems to be no lag at all.

    12. 2 Micro MIDI cables!

    A couple of things I'd like to see in an update.

    1. The back button should go to the previous screen no matter what you're doing. It feels odd to keep clicking the info button to cycle through all the options to get back to where you started. For example If I change some parameters on a sequence then hit back it takes me to the sequence screen instead of the notes screen on the piano roll.

    2. Change the text of the start and end wording on the sample edit screen. Currently the text is grey and hard to read. White would be much better.

    3. How about some control over the compressor?

    At the end of the day this device is a compact sampling workstation as written on the box and it performs exceptionally at being exactly that. I have an OPZ which may pair well with this device and minus that I can't think of anything on the market which may compare once you take the size, portability and feature set into account. Maybe a Digitakt comes in close but that's a much bigger box with a steeper learning curve and less immediacy. I owned one and sold it a year ago. I just sold my Model Samples too. I think Blackbox is superior to both in many ways.

    I've uploaded two Instagram jam videos. I'll upload more as time goes along https://www.instagram.com/p/Bwal6QNF94e/

  • #2
    Ferrum thanks so much for all that insight on how to use this bad boy - I'm loving it so far as well.

    One of your notes I wholly agree with is this...

    Originally posted by Ferrum View Post
    3. How about some control over the compressor?
    It would be nice to be able to link a compressor to sidechain one or more of the pads as well.

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks for that excellent review...im guilty of wanting more from this machine but only because i believe this could be the “Next Digitakt” in terms of a small footprint “Groove Box” and why i will invest my hard earned money in it

      Comment


      • #4
        when you have a company like 1010music who is known for listening to customers, focusing on updating firmware and not just releasing new products, its hard not to want more...

        loving my blackbox so far...and been using it basically by itself for the last few days...
        still my favorite thing about it, is layering sequences and song mode.
        the sequencer is very nice, and easy to edit...

        I'm getting used to the sampler, but for some reason i feel like it lacks in that field...

        there's a slight delay when recording into the Blackbox
        you can't edit your samples and save them as a new sample
        you can't assign your slices and chops to different pads (i understand you can play your slices in keys mode...but editing things like your pitch, filter, volume, applies to the whole sample, and not your individual slices...think about how awesome it would be to be able to edit each slice...)
        to me it seems more geared for those who edit and chop samples on other gear, or software, before bringing it into the Blackbox...



        my goal with the blackbox is to use it on its own, without any external controller, and being able to sample, anywhere...


        100% agree with the compressor...would be nice to have some controls, over just "on" or "off"



        its weird to me how everyone is asking its comparison to the digitakt, i feel like they are not similar at all...

        Comment


        • Ferrum
          Ferrum commented
          Editing a comment
          There's nothing wrong with wanting more but I've noticed a trend in many forums and online in general that there seems to be a bigger effort to speak about the perceived shortcomings and future hopes of the equipment and much less of an effort to speak about what the equipment does right. This post you just created leans more towards what's wrong than what's right. I'm not intending to be rude or anything but I would rather look at what makes the device special and what's working well. I own a Toolbox and like 1010's approach to design and functionality and have zero doubt they'll do what they can to incorporate features, make bug changes and share features between the different pieces of gear.

          - I experience zero delay when sampling so far. I've only tried it a few times though and I think I had it set to 1 bar. I'll try some other methods and see if I have the same issue pop up.

          - You can save your samples to the micro SD and even change the file name. Yesterday I made a sample, put it in a sequence and changed the file name without issue. I just played the file from the micro SD and it's fine. Is there something else you are talking about? I will add that I think your song should be on the micro SD card as a collection of audio files you can then further manipulate.

          - I agree with individual slice parameters and I'm sure they'll implement that at a later date...(I hope)

          - So far I like it for what it is, a compact sampling workstation. For the price, portability and features there's nothing I can think of that comes close besides a laptop, tablet or Digitakt. I agree with you, this and the Digitakt are not similar and I hope 1010 Music doesn't try to go anywhere near that direction. Keep this a simple to use, portable, sample based machine. I've realized I don't want too many options, choices and parameters in most of my gear. Also, we don't use our equipment in isolation. Each piece (should) compliment another and for me the Blackbox is my sampling workstation now and I also like making some song sketches on it sort of how I use the OPZ. Share some jams if you get a chance. Much success to you and yours.

      • #5
        Originally posted by Ferrum View Post
        1. The back button should go to the previous screen no matter what you're doing. It feels odd to keep clicking the info button to cycle through all the options to get back to where you started. For example If I change some parameters on a sequence then hit back it takes me to the sequence screen instead of the notes screen on the piano roll.
        On further use of the blackbox, I completely agree with this note... Seems like hitting the back button does exactly the same thing as hitting the button for the page that I'm currently on.

        Feels like the usability of this button is redundant and would be much more powerful if it was a dedicated "previous screen" button similar to the way a back button works on a web browser.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by Ferrum View Post
          I see a lot of feature requests, questions and comparisons so I'm going to do something a little different and talk about what I like about the Blackbox. I think us consumers should buy gear based on what it can do and not what we hope it can do in the future. ... There's nothing wrong with wanting more but I've noticed a trend in many forums and online in general that there seems to be a bigger effort to speak about the perceived shortcomings and future hopes of the equipment and much less of an effort to speak about what the equipment does right.
          Ferrum, thank you very much for making this observation and sharing your experience. Everyone, myself included, can get caught up in what's lacking and not spend enough time enjoying what is already at hand. We're never completely satisfied with our products either. Thanks for taking the opportunity to celebrate what already exists.

          Comment


          • #7
            No worries. Your customers and yourself are all artists and creators so it's only natural that our creative minds will always have a desire to reach a little further, to try that new idea, to see if this works or that works and to answer the "what if". If we didn't all share this trait we'd be happy banging sticks on trees and clanging rocks together. You all did a great job with this piece of equipment and I was in the market for something exactly like this. Timing prevailed and I passed on a Digitakt in favor of Blackbox and I don't regret it. We may not always achieve the end state we are going for but if we do our best then we can do nothing else and we must respect our efforts.

            Comment


            • #8
              Ferrum,
              Thanks for taking the time to share this. We really do appreciate it. You made my day! I write the user manuals (among many other tasks) so I especially appreciate your thoughts on the manual. It makes the effort worthwhile.

              I will log the request for the color change on the Start and Len text on the wav screen. We've already implemented the changes to the back button, and I've already logged a compressor request.

              I'm glad you are enjoying blackbox. Have a wonderful day!
              Christine

              Comment


              • #9
                The back button update was a great addition. The manual is the best yet, you're definitely getting better. Including examples and referencing files to load and test certain features was very helpful. When you reference a file to use it reinforces to the user what the end result should look and or sound like. Also, if there's any sort of a bug or feature you want to test, using a reference file creates a standard you can use to gauge what is or isn't working and what the end user may or may not be doing correctly.

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